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Reading to a baby -- any advice?

(43 Posts)
aikigypsy Tue 08-Jul-08 12:56:57

So, I was reading along in one of these child development books or websites the other day, and it recommended reading to babies from a very young age, 6 months or earlier.

I would like to read to my 7-month-old but can't figure out how! She's too squirmy, or else she's feeding or asleep. She's beginning to have moments of quiet play, exploring objects, but if there's a book near her, it's in her mouth.

Should I wait, or is there something I can do to encourage sitting relatively still and looking at pictures?

smallwhitecat Tue 08-Jul-08 12:59:45

Message withdrawn

Sunnymama Tue 08-Jul-08 13:01:54

I've recently started reading to my 7 month old. He is also more interested in eating the book, but if I can get him at the right moment he will sit and look at it/hit it etc. on my lap. I've been doing it before his last feed before bed so it's kind of like a bedtime story and he's quite chilled out then.

Try the books with photos of babies in them - mine really likes those. The cloth ones are quite good as well as they are usually quite tactile and have things to pull and squeak in them.

TeaDr1nker Tue 08-Jul-08 13:02:01

i read a story to my 7month old as part of the bedtime routine, you could start there?

Other than that i have a couple of picture/word books that i read to her, sometimes she looks, sometimes she is more interested in puting it in her mouth. Also if she is on her front she will look down at the pictures and i can say 'look at the dog' IYSWIM

mum2oandh Tue 08-Jul-08 13:05:04

aikigypsy I'd just keep trying, but don't push it and certainly don't worry about it, all children are different, it's only recomendation. There's a book called 'goodnight moon' (you can still get it, but it was published in 1956 or something) all little ones (even my 4mo dd) seem to love this when they are a bit sleepy.

elkiedee Tue 08-Jul-08 13:13:04

Are you breastfeeding? I read to my ds during his feed from about 2 months or so but I was bottlefeeding (not by choice) by then. At the moment bedtime stories are on hold because we can't get him to lie still at night, he wants to walk around the room.

Have you started to use a highchair? Maybe you could try a story while she's still in that?

It's as much about your voice and language etc. Choose stories that you enjoy reading, we borrow lots from the library so we don't get too bored.

At 8 months your dd should be eligible to get a Bookstart pack from a library, and they give you a couple of board books which then I felt happy to give ds to eat/play with as much as he likes.

bythepowerofgreyskull Tue 08-Jul-08 13:16:14

we have always had reading as part of a bed time routine whilst having boobie before bed.
when DS1 was a baby we read through the harry potter books (remembering some film from the 1980's where it was all about tone of voice)
as he got older we starte reading books he was able to see the pictures.

mistlethrush Tue 08-Jul-08 13:17:33

My ds loved the Hairy Mclary stories from quite young - lovely, sing-song verse that has great pictures - we have a well thumbed compilation of 5 stories in one hard backed book. We can do quite a few off by heart now which is ideal for pretending its time to go to sleep if you're travelling in the evening. We also found the Apple Tree Farm books good from about 1 as they've got lots of nice pictures to look at. Ds soon got used to the fact that he waits rather than trying to turn the page himself, we just gently persisted.

NorthernLurker Tue 08-Jul-08 13:18:05

Buy board books and let her suck them! Your start off just reading a page - if you are lucky and then build up. Babies love hearing your voice, watching the pictures on the book, they start to recognise the order and as you do them over and over they react back to you. The important thing is to instill from a very young age that books are fun, that you will enjoy them together and that they can explore them alone as well. Keep the lovely expensive picture books away until they are older and buy board books that will take some punishment. Go and join the library and take her to story time if they have one - you are never to young to be a library member - dd1 joined aged 6 weeks!

bergentulip Tue 08-Jul-08 13:26:01

At 7mths, read one of your own books, so at least you are interested in it too! Use a silly voice if you want, make the sound soothing and child-friendly, but I don't really think it matters too much whether it is a storyline they can follow at that age(!)

Or your issue of Heat/The Economist (!?)

In a few months you'll start reading these blasted children's books over and over and over, so make the most of their inability to understand for as long as possible.....

We started off with Spot the Dog books. Very little words and lots of lift-the-flaps to engage dd. Also the "That's not my..." series from Usbourne are also good. I don't think they need a lot of reading to, so one short book is all it needs. Changing voices for different pages is good too to engage them.

geekgirl Tue 08-Jul-08 15:14:37

mine all loved the fabric books with lift-the-flap and different textures, particularly if there's that crinkly stuff inside the fabric...
A big baby favourite with all my three was a fabric book with nursery rhymes

The whole idea is to get them to enjoy sitting there with an age-appropriate book - and at that age it's obviously got to be a book that is interesting when chewed or waved about

BellaBear Tue 08-Jul-08 15:30:41

bythepowerofgreyskull - was it 3 Men and a Baby? Tom Selleck reading something really violent is a baby singsong voice?

mylovelymonster Tue 08-Jul-08 15:33:53

I read to DD from day one. Didn't bother with showing her pictures - just read stuff - anything - nursery rhymes, the paper. They just love to hear your voice and it's great for getting them off to sleep if you adopt a calm darkened room, and a low, slightly slower, reading voice. Works wonders. Singing is good too.

KM1 Tue 08-Jul-08 22:18:41

I also read to both my dcs from newborn. I used to lie on the floor next to them holding the book above our heads (when they were too little to sit up!) and they would kick their legs in excitement as they listened. They are 11 and 7 now and both very into books.

aikigypsy Wed 09-Jul-08 14:27:17

Thanks for the replies!

I'm breastfeeding still, with only a few solids thrown into the mix, so reading-while-feeding won't work. I'll give it a try before we lie down to sleep in the evenings, but she's often at her squirmiest then.

Yes, Goodnight Moon is a classic! I have a copy right here. We also have a couple of board books and Pat the Bunny, which is another old chestnut. I should take a look for some cloth books, too.

Once I've got her sitting down for more than 15 seconds at a go, I might try reading her one of my books. I have had a terrible time making time for reading since she's been born. I've read about a book and a half all year!

Pavlovthecat Wed 09-Jul-08 14:32:38

I used to read to DD when she was being fed, and when she was going to sleep, when she was asleep. in particular DH would read a chapter from Peter Rabbit or another classic. Now its more toddler orientated as she is involved, but at the time, anything was read!

I have no idea whether she has developed her immense love of books from the fact that at her bedtime routine, we would always include a section of a book (after her bath, sometimes DH would read while i got her dressed, sometimes she yelled at the same time!) or whether its pure coincidence, but we did from the day she was born, and still do, every night and she adores books and 'reads' to us now!

Her speech is also excellent, as is her comprehension of what she is saying and what we are saying. I have no idea for sure, again, if us reading to her had anything to do with it, but it certainly did not hurt.

Poledra Wed 09-Jul-08 14:34:32

I used to read my own book out loud while b'feeding, as I felt I wasn't totally ignoring the baba but also got something out of it myself!
DD2 has some of the Usbourne 'That's not my...' books biscuits mentioned, and she adored those (still digs them out sometimes at 2.5).

2cats2many Wed 09-Jul-08 14:41:54

When my dd was a squirmy baby, I used to give her a different book to hold while I was reading to her. It helped a little with the grabbing.

She's now 15 months and for about the last month has developed a real love of books. She asks for 'a boot' all the time and sits as still as a statue while I read to her.

Try and stick with it.

EffiePerine Wed 09-Jul-08 14:46:54

bedtime? feeding time?

we've been reading to DS (bfed) pretty much from the beginning and he now selects his own books (at 21 mo). Really good idea to get them used to books from an early age

Try ones that sound interesting at this point - rhyming books, Going on a Bear Hunt is a favourite, also I love this one (and DS likes helping out with the noises):

www.amazon.co.uk/Shhh-Jeanne-Willis/dp/1842705660/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1215611195&sr=8-1

EffiePerine Wed 09-Jul-08 14:47:39

oh and read books you like rather than the specifically baby books (v boring IME)

hana Wed 09-Jul-08 14:50:57

read loads to dd1 natch
didn't really start reading to dd2 until she was about 12 months ish

dd3 - have only started reading to her in the past few months - she's almost 2.

dd2 lurves books - always has her head in one now and chatters away to her dollies with her books. Fab speech and vocab too - despite the late start with us sitting down and reading together

Fillyjonk Wed 09-Jul-08 14:51:01

tbh I wouldn't really bother.

neither ds nor dd1 really "got" books til about 18 months.

Both are now very very interested in books, storytelling, etc.

I never really get what they get from books at this age. Far better imo to make up stories yourself with their animals, tell simple stories, talk to them, etc etc. I honetly think that reading to a child this young makes not one jot of difference. What really matters is when they get into books at around 24 months you readreadread to them.

I tend to think that young children will tend to do what they need to do. If they aren't inclined to sit and read with you, there is probably another skill that they ned to be developing. Yes they need to know that reading goes left to right, etc etc, but these are not exactly rocket science level things.

What is FAR more important than reading to them, imo, is that YOU read yourself, for fun, to learn, etc etc. That way they see that reading is a Good Thing.

Honestly I worried so much abou8t this with ds (pfb) but really, there was NO need. At 4.5 we actually physically cannot meet his need for stories (he gets about 2.5+ hours a day out of us as it is) and have resorted to story tapes.

hana Wed 09-Jul-08 14:52:49

good post fillyjonk

Fennel Wed 09-Jul-08 14:54:39

I didn't bother reading to mine as babies. We only started reading with them when they started pestering for it. Even then we didn't do it that regularly (I prefer to read to myself, for myself, really). They all love books anyway (don't most children?) and the older two (8 and 6) are very good keen readers now.

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